Adult Webmastering Basics: Part 17: PPC

Domenic R. Merenda
Last week’s installment strove to hammer home the advantages of hiring a professional to perform SEO work on your websites. The following piece outlines the PPC process and the role experts play in its success. The main contrast in the pricing for an expert’s time between SEO and PPC is that SEO hours are typically billed as a line item, while PPC efforts are built into the price.

Targeted Traffic
The ability to deliver qualified visitors to a specific page within your web site’s structure can mean the difference between a paying customer and just another bandwidth hog. While TGP’s can and do deliver large volumes of traffic with only the investment of a webmaster’s time, investing in a quality PPC program can be worth its weight in gold.

With many PPC programs, a potential surfer is presented with a list of keyword-based ads, either displayed as part of menu navigation or exit console (embedded in a web site), or as the results of a search (direct user input). If the user has little or no interest in viewing the materials advertised, it is unlikely they will click through to the site, and the advertiser is not charged. If, however, the user clicks through to an advertiser’s page, it can be inferred that at least some level of interest was displayed before the user arrived. These clicks inherently have more “value” to the advertiser than visits from other sources.

Getting Noticed
On the more popular sites, you will be up against many thousands of other advertisers, all vying for top placement and quality traffic. A good number of these are likely to have heftier budgets and more experience, as well. How do you stand out in the crowd? An account representative, offered by many of the larger services, is your key to success.

Account reps have experience in the PPC environment, including bid management, keyword wizardry, and competitive tactics. Trust their instincts, as they’ve been playing the game longer than you have. This doesn’t mean they can work without direction, however. Even the best rep will welcome your input on keywords that have been successful in the past and target markets you have seen results in.

Most PPC providers offer a bid system for determining which advertisers receive top billing in their search results. Getting the hang of working with this type of system is like walking a tightrope. Bid too much, and your account will empty out within hours. Bid too little, and your advertisement will be buried under pages of results, never to be clicked. Your account rep has been in the game for a while, and can suggest (or automatically implement, in some cases) changes in bid prices for you. Up against a dynamic field of advertisers constantly adjusting their bids, keywords, and strategies, your account rep will become an invaluable ally in keeping your head about water.

Keyword choices become valuable commodities as competition heats up. With less densely populated keywords, an advertiser is able to monopolize traffic – at least until their competitors (or their competitor’s reps) tumble to the new real estate. More important than the bid price, keywords define the search terms surfers will use to access your site, as well as the target markets you’ll be reaching.

Keeping it Fresh
A good formula isn’t something that should be changed. Look to Pepsi and Coke for examples of failed attempts to improve on an acceptable product. Keeping the offerings fresh, however, can extend the lifetime of any campaign or site. In our next installment, we’ll examine methods of ensuring your surfers come back for second helpings, as well as maintaining a steady stream of new traffic. In short, we’ll be tying it all together, and moving in on the end of our series on Adult Webmastering Basics.

Stay tuned!